Bowling: Brother Martin, Chapelle head back to Gonzales in search of state titles
GONZALES – The Louisiana High School Athletic Association brought the team portion of its state bowling championships to Premier Lanes Entertainment Center for the first time in the spring of 2021.
The eight teams who gathered that year featured six from the Baton Rouge region and two from New Orleans – Brother Martin and Archbishop Chapelle.
When it was done, the Crusaders and Chipmunks took home the titles.
Fast forward to this week, and Premier is again the host. And again, Brother Martin and Chapelle are the New Orleans representatives in Thursday morning’s semifinals, which will be followed by the championship matches. You can watch both final matches live at Crescent City Sports beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Not much else is the same from two years ago. Nine of the 12 starters on the two teams are new, as is one of the coaches – first-year Chapelle coach Dorothy Himbert, who, coincidentally, is the wife of Brother Martin coach Bruce Himbert.
Still, could the end result be a repeat of 2021? Both area schools will have to first get past tough semifinal matchups against unbeaten teams in their home center.
The girls begin the action at 9:30, and fifth-seeded Chapelle (13-1) has the dubious task of taking on top-seeded Dutchtown (14-0). The Griffins handed the Chipmunks their only loss, 17-10 on March 1, also at Premier.
More often than not, depth prevails in Louisiana high school bowling, and Dutchtown has assembled perhaps the deepest team ever. All 10 of their bowlers qualified for Friday’s state singles championship.
Chapelle can lean on experience, however. Two starters – Olivia Bares and Gabrielle Fischer – were in the lineup in 2021. Dutchtown has reached the semis each of the last two years, but was beaten in the semifinals.
The other girls semifinal matches defending champion and No. 6 seed Denham Springs against unbeaten H.L. Bourgeois, the second seed.
When the boys semifinals begin at 11:45, second-seeded and four-time defending champion Brother Martin (14-1) has a similar task in facing East Ascension. The No. 3 seed Spartans have turned back all 15 opponents this year, including a convincing 22-5 win over parish rival Dutchtown in the quarterfinals.
The Crusaders, meanwhile, had to rally from 164 pins down in the final game to defeat Denham Springs 14-13 to reach the semis for the ninth consecutive time.
Brother Martin’s strength is the right side of its lineup, which features three of the top 10 average bowlers in the state – Ashton Catalinotto, Jacob Vangilder and Kade Chatelain, all returning starters from 2022’s title run.
East Ascension closed the season with a flourish, firing a 3,596 team series in the regular season finale against St. Amant and a 3,675 in the quarterfinal victory over Dutchtown.
The other semifinal matchup is a regular season rematch between South Central region rivals Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois. The top-seeded Trojans defeated the Braves 16-11 on Feb. 16 at Creole Lanes in Houma.
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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…